Childhood Obesity & Kid Power


A refreshing article on feeding children recently appeared in the pages of Newsweek.  Titled  “Not Hungry?  No Problem,” it’s an article about a new booklet produced by a nonprofit group named Zero to Three. You can get a free copy of the booklet “Healthy from the Start”  by going to Zero to Three’s website.

The feeding advice given in the booklet is intended to help with the problem of childhood obesity.  Unlike the all-too-common advice about carefully controlling a child’s eating, this booklet appears to recommend the more progressive approach that encourages parents to let children make decisions based on the child’s inner cues.

Parents provide the food choices, and the child makes the decision whether he or she will eat or not and how much.  This is advice first served up by Ellyn Satter, a pioneering child feeding expert, and someone worth listening to.  Basically, she advises parents to take charge of their children’s food, allowing all things in moderation, but let children take charge of their eating.  That is, encourage children to listen to their bodies and decide what’s right for them.

If only we had all started eating mindfully in the first three years of life.  Actually, a lot (most?) of us probably did.  Then we fell victim to pressures to be thin, or to our hectic lifestyles that just don’t blend well with mindfulness.  Either way, we can become mindful again.  And reap the same benefits we hope for children who are just starting out.

Our ‘start’ can be any day.  One of the attitudes of mindfulness is ‘beginner’s mind,’ to “see the present moment, cultivate a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time and be open to new possibilities” (that from mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn).

It’s like finding the child in ourselves again.

4 responses to “Childhood Obesity & Kid Power”

  1. Don says:

    I don’t think Childhood obesity is given near the media attention that it deserves. It’s incredibly what I see parents feeding their Children these days. I actually know one coupld who’s kids eat Mickey D’s twice a day nearly every week, all in the name of “Mommy & Daddy are to busy to cook.”

    Something needs to be done and done quickly. Parents need to open their eyes and see what we are doing to our Childrens health, not only now but in the future.


  2. Marsha says:

    Hi, Don,

    thanks for your comment. i think something needs to be done with our society! it’s not just ‘mommy and daddy are too busy to cook;’ it’s that we’re all expected to do way too much these days. i think women were sold a bill of goods when we were convinced that we could work outside the home and raise our children, too. i know that two incomes are often really necessary, but it’s a shame because everyone gets the short end of the stick, parents and kids included. and for the record, if mommy wants to work outside the home, it’s fine for daddy to stay home and take care of the kids and family. it’s just that someone needs to!


  3. Sue says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

  4. marsha@gmfr says:

    thanks for the feedback, Sue. it’s comments like those that keep us going!


About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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